Today, Elon Interstellar unveiled their new offering, the mysterious Model E. While industry professionals dismissed the rumors of fusion reactors and drives as being fanciful, Elon Interstellar has defied expectations. The Model E is the first commercial craft to offer fusion, and offers it both as part of its power plant and in its axial-flow z-axis pinch fusion drives. Elon Interstellar stated that their intent is to hasten the advent of interplanetary travel by making a fusion craft available that is more than just a science project. The Model E, however, is a dedicated mining craft, particularly well-suited to the troves of wealth discovered in Saturn’s rings. Though its price point is quite high for a commercial craft, prices are likely to drop in the future as the technology matures.
Power of the Sun
The backbone of Elon Interstellar’s new Model E are, of course, the fusion technologies. The Starcat fusion reactor is a stellarator, a design chosen to fit into a more compact ship’s form, able to produce more power than most ships will be able to find a use for. The Z-Axial Pinch drives – already having the nickname “ZAP drives” – use an axial fuel flow to stabilize the fusion flow. These technologies together, on a commercially-available footing, are undoubtedly going to become the foundation of the technologies that take us to the stars.
In a surprising move, Elon Interstellar has opted not to maintain their new fusion drives as proprietary technology for their own craft. It was announced today that retrofit kits for these drives will be reaching stores soon. Though very expensive to buy and maintain, and having extremely high energy requirements for each ignition, they offer a number of advantages. Relatively high thrust, the non-catastrophic nature of most fusion failures, and extremely high exhaust velocity will offer distinct advantages, and ensure that older fission craft will be able to safely adapt these drives to their systems.
- New fully playable ship: Elon Interstellar Model E is now available.
- Autopilot improvements – autopilots that feature Rotational Thrust Computation are now aware of the impact of firing non-centered or gimbaled drive and will use that to better adjust your heading.
- Number of performance improvements in AI/Autopilot code makes the game run smoother when there are multiple ships on screen.
- Changed microseismic mineral scanner to utilize GPU for rendering, clearly show bounds of cargo bay and equipment mounted.
- Fixed a number of typos in dialogues.
- Equipment attached to the ship now responds with the correct transponder for LIDAR sweep. Earlier ships could obscure their presence by hiding in the shadow of its own excavator.
- New equipment: Model E HUD, EIAA-1337 autopilot and Z-Axial Pinch fusion drives.
- Adjusted reaction wheel desaturation code to be more efficient. This is especially noticeable on ships with big reaction wheels.
- Fixed a bug that caused ships to think they are in different shape for pathfinding. This both improved performance and accuracy of NPC maneuvers.
- Ships can now have a fusion reactor, which acts very differently from fission reactors.
- Fixed a bug that could cause the game to crash if you clicked fast enough on the title screen.
- Added a number of user-friendly error messages to cover common errors, such as file missing, out of memory or game files corrupted.
- Ships can now have multiple overlapping cargo holds and expanding cargo holds.
- You can now turn your on-board ship computer off. Warning: your on-board computer will not work when turned off.
- Point Defence Turrets will not consider big excavators of friendly ships as an iron asteroid to be shot down anymore.
- Fixed a bug that caused cradle arms to be dislocated during cutscene sequences.
- Fixed a story bug that caused a cured crewmember still acting sick in certain circumstances.
- Crew that are on leave or inactive won’t initiate dialogues anymore.
- Fixed a bug in kinetic energy computation for some impacts.
- HUD will now communicate with the ship to show the correct cargo bay area on the scanner even if you have retro-fited HUD display.
- Fixed a number of physics engine instabilities that could cause your ship to take damage in unexpected ways.
- Fixed a bug that caused the tuning setting to not be respected if you used the tuning menu fast enough.
- You can click on the entire upgrade label to show preview now.
- Number of stability improvements related to asteroids being removed from the field.
- Changed the way asteroids fracture to make sure ore stays inside your cargo hold if an asteroid shattered there.
- Fixed some encounters whose conditions made them much more rare than they should be.
- Big chunks of ice now evaluate correct water content for MPU processing, scanner and Enceladus dive summary.
- Clones of ships you destroyed will no-longer appear later in game.
- Increased variety of ship loadouts you encounter when flying in the rings.
- New ships that you bought will no-longer be labeled as “new” in your garage.
- Ships that you sell will now be available for buying back for a couple of in-game days.
- Number of improvements for gamepad control, including gamepad respecting autopilot velocity turning and pointing in direction being more reliable.
- Habitat docking arms will not release you anymore when you open up your excavator while being docked.
- Thrusters that are disabled or lack their internal fuel supply won’t contribute to ΔV of your ship anymore.
- Ships HUD now can report internal fuel tanks of thrusters and torches.
- Game version number added to pause menu.
- Additional HUD tuning options for EIME HUD.
- Adjusted AI so they are more likely to disengage if they manage to stun-lock you for a while.
- Fixed a bug that could report an inaccurate cargo mass when you had a Mineral Processing Unit installed.
- Eagle Prospector now lists it’s drone slots when you are browsing Dealer.
- Adjusted encounter density.